Campaign of the Month: Banca Cívica sin armas (Civic banking without arms)

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The coalition “Banca Cívica sin armas” (Civic banking without arms) was launched last December in front of the central offices of Banca Cívica (Civic Banking) in Pamplona-Iruña, State of Spain.

This coalition is formed by three collectives: SETEM Nafarroa, Iruña Group against the Palestinian War Elkartasuna Ekimena, and Alternativa Antimilitarista KEM-MOC.
The website http://www.bancacivicasinarmas.org/ was launched at the same time laying out the reasons why the three collectives joined together.
The main aim of “Banca Cívica sin armas” is to denounce and to make public knowledge the fact that these so called “civic” banks allocate money to invest in the arms production industry, highlighting yet another example of how: War Starts Here! Far way from where the bombs are dropped.

In times marked by the crisis in the capitalist system and where the solutions suggested are social and welfare cuts “Banca Cívica sin armas”  started its campaign demanding cuts to the Civic Banking group.
The demand to Civic Banking is to cut its investments in arms and instead invest the money in social welfare projects. The entity's own marketing slogan ‘You Choose, You Decide’ used to lure new customers, seems to in fact justify and validate these very demands. Clients can choose between different projects to which they allocate 30% of the benefit which the bank gets from the deposits made by the client.

Investment in and Profit from the Arms Trade

What the bank doesn't tell their clients, is where it gets these benefits from. CAN, one of the entities that form the Civic Baking group, has tripled their profits since 2009 with investment in companies involved in the production of arms, making it Spain's fastest growing banking investor in the arms trade. In fact the Civic Banking group allocates 22,63 million euros to these companies making it the third highest banking investor in the arms trade.

Arms trade investments are made directly by the entities which form part of the Civic Banking group or through groups of specific investors who are in charge of making these investments.

Concretely we can highlight some of these companies:

Civic Banking has a 39.3% of Oessía company which owns the 100% of Tecnobit which owns 51% of Retemsa. Tecnobit contributes to the construction of the fighter plane Eurofighter and keeps contracts with the Israeli arms production company Rafael which supplies arms to the Israeli military used in the occupation of Palestine.

Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF), S.A. Is another of the companies in which Civic Banking participates. Even though as the name indicates the main business of this company is trains (ferrocarriles), it is also one of the companies which collaborates in the construction of the Leopard tank.

Civic Banking also participates in other three companies involved in the production of arms., Amper, Alests y Aernnova. Civic Banking not only shares the profits of these companies, it also benefits from other controversial companies such as: “Calvo y Pescanova”. The first one being denounced for violation of union rights in El Salvador and the latter one of the destruction of the mangroves in Nicaragua.

“Banca Cívica sin armas” challenges the fact that a banking entity which calls itself civic, and talks about promoting values such as transparency and participation,when in reality is an accomplice, directly or indirectly, in the death and suffering of thousands of people in the world.

Current Strategy

“Banca Cívica sin armas” demands that Civic Baking group withdraw its investment in arms production.

“Banca Cívica sin armas” demands that Civic Banking cuts its investments in arms and instead invests the money in social welfare projects.

“Banca Cívica sin armas” encourages customers to withdraw their savings until such time as  Civic Bank discontinue their arms trade investment.

“Banca Cívica sin armas” encourages “You Choose, You Decide” partner programs to stop supporting and partnering with a banking group which profits from war and arms manufacture.

The aim of the “Banca Cívica sin armas” campaign is to “build  public opinion which brings about a change of attitude in the Civic Banking group, with the goal that they break all relations with socially irresponsible companies”.

“Banca Cívica sin armas” current strategy involves continued denunciations through street actions, interviews with unions and counsellors, and by providing information to shareholders and clients.

Due to the high measure of power and influence Civic Bank has with the media “Banca Cívica sin armas” will continue to use different, inventive and grassroots forms of communication.

You can check the video presentation of the campaign in the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=p9mQHnM5jHM

We will also coordinate with other two platforms of the same nature: http://www.bancosantandersinarmas.org/ y http://www.bbvasinarmas.org/, as well as with the international website http://www.banksecrets.eu/#/es/home.

For more information: http://www.bancacivicasinarmas.org/

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